Delaware Political Weekly: Feb. 16-22, 2018

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on February 23, 2018

Man, what a week.

1. Rep. Bryon Short Retires. The Special Election that propelled Short into the General Assembly was a watershed event for the Democratic Party, especially for the Party in suburban New Castle County.  Let’s first recount what happened. Fresh off of his reelection victory in 2006, House Majority Leader Wayne Smith (Delaware’s Newt Gingrich) announced that he would leave the General Assembly for a top position at Christiana Care. In a move that smacked of Smith’s typical hubris, he anointed his neighbor and campaign official Jim Bowers as his successor. At the time, the district still had a Republican plurality. The district Democratic Committee held an open process to hear from prospective candidates. The candidates included people who had run previously and lost (me, Carl Colantuono and Dave Brady).  And Bryon. I think that me and Dave Brady saw, perhaps even before the committee did, that Short gave us our best chance of victory.  We stepped aside and, in talking to committee members, I think we were able to help them become more confident of Bryon’s potential.

In a Special Election, it’s all hands on deck.  Both parties mobilized, with the D campaign taking on all the characteristics of a top-notch grassroots effort.  Nobody knocked doors harder than Bryon; he had a great campaign manager in his wife, Kristin; and the campaign had a wealth of great volunteers.  The result being that, on April 14, 2007, Short defeated Bowers by a vote of 2275-2048.  Bowers tried again in a 2008 rematch, but the result was much more lopsided, 6281-4473. At which point, Short was firmly established in the General Assembly. Oh, and the D’s (Dennis E. Williams) won the eternally-R 10th RD that year.

During his tenure, Short was outstanding on social issues, LGBT rights in particular. Not just a reliable vote, but a leader. The issue for me has been his close alliance with business interests to the detriment of ordinary Delawareans. Specifically, his willingness to bury minimum wage increases in his (created for him) Business Lapdog Committee, his failure to work with Beau Biden to forestall the Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield merger (‘There’s nothing I can do”),  his vote to repeal the Estate Tax, and his sponsorship of the so-called Delaware Prosperity Partnership, which cuts the public almost completely out of tracking state handouts to business interests.

So, what happens now? Well, the district is now solidly Democratic following the last redistricting. Remaining R vestiges like Brandywood, Foulk Woods and parts of Chalfonte have been excised, and the remaining portions of Claymont have been added to the 7th. Current registration is 8332 D; 4467 R; and 4226 I.

Who will run? We can look at the three candidates who had announced for the seat before Short cut short his congressional bid: Former State Rep. David BradyJoe Daigle, and Rob Cameron, who is president of the Ashbourne Hills Civic Association.  Wouldn’t shock me to see a three-way primary. I have two concerns: (1) Brady could win in a three-or-more way primary.  I really like Dave personally, but he’s more of a Reagan Democrat; (2) Another Chamber lackey could be the nominee. Which is why we’ll need to hear from the prospective candidates.

Sorry for the length, but it’s my home district. TMI, I know.

2. 2 R’s To Seek Chance To Challenge Carper Or Harris? Looks that way. Gene Truono announced he’s running. Platform might as well have been written by a computer at the RNC.  Opponent Chuck Boyce announced last fall and then…

3.Wagner To Retire.  Well, he’d long since abandoned any pretense of doing his job, but he made it official on Saturday.  Two  D candidates have filed: Kathy McGuiness, who is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pete ‘n Val Inc., and Dennis E Williams, who is an accountant and who has run for office seemingly every election cycle in recent memory.  If they are the only two candidates in the race, I’ll vote for Williams.  McGuiness is running to jump-start her political career and will almost certainly only do what Pistol Pete Schwartzkopf and Val PAL Longhurst want her to do. Williams can at least read and understand financial documents.  Will there be any more candidates? Will the R’s scrape one up? Will that Davies person who is ‘on leave’ from the Auditor’s Office (BTW, what’s up with that?) run? If so, as what? Stay tuned.

4. R Primary in SD 17. Donyale Hall vs. Justin King.  Both have now filed. Hall is a vocal opponent of that regulation designed to protect the rights of transgendered students. King is the mayor of Camden, DE. Oh, he’s also an ex-cop. The winner of the primary will likely face Trey Paradee in this district that is currently represented by retiring Sen. Brian Bushweller.

5. Jordyn Pusey To Challenge Ken Woods in NCC District 1. Pusey filed this week.  As was previously recounted here, the 13th RD Committee performed Rosemary Woods-like contortions to push through an endorsement for Ken Woods, the undistinguished son of undistinguished ex-councilman Robert Woods.  It’s the death rattle of an insular group of over-the-hill pols.  Pusey is a classic open government activist. You can get behind her candidacy here.

6. We’ve Got A Great Candidate In RD 9. Debbie Harrington, who at one time was rumored to be the Candidate X challenger to Tom Carper, has filed to take on Kevin Hensley in RD 9. It won’t be an easy race.  Yes, the district has a D plurality of 8425 D; 6216 R; and 5244 I’s.  But it’s often had quite a bit of political incestuousness amongst the D’s, including some notorious ‘cutting’ of D’s in the past. Nevertheless, Harrington is one of the best recruits of the cycle. Should she win, this seat will likely remain with the D’s for some time.

7. Robin Hayes Challenges Bill Bush in the 29th RD. I, um, think it’s this Robin Hayes. A registered dietician from Dover.  We’ll know soon enough. Her kickoff event is tomorrow.

8. Filing That Might Only Interest Me (h/t to Peter King): One Scott Phillips has filed to run for NCC Sheriff.  Against former Wilmington Police Chief Sam Pratcher, who has been the Acting Sheriff since Trinidad Navarro was elected as Insurance Commissioner.  Phillips is an interesting guy. A published author who has also been a Deputy Sheriff.  I might just vote for him…

9. Filings.  Deneice Berry (D-candidate for 5th RD); State Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-23rd RD); State Rep. Ed Osienski (D-24th RD); Rep. John Kowalko (D-25th RD).

That’s it for this week. What’d I miss, and whaddayathink?

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  1. jason330 says:

    I hope Debbie Harrington runs a grassroots campaign that mostly bypasses the 9th’s (literal) old boys. The district has out grown those guys.

    Also – Paradee can lead in getting the Dems to divest themselves of NRA blood money by giving back his donations. He simply has to say that the NRA of today is not the Sportsman’s organization that it once was. It is simple, to the point and the absolute truth.

  2. puck says:

    Carper’s nauseating fundraising emails are now claiming he has three opponents. Let’s try to account for Carper’s number.

    On the Repub side for the general election, he has Gene Truono and Chuck Boyce (as El Som points out). On the Democratic side there is Kerri Harris. Matthew Water Stout is a declared write-in candidate of unknown affiliation (I didn’t even bother googling him).

    That’s four opponents. I guess Carper will have to update his claim to include Truono.

  3. Chris says:

    Monique Johns announced in the 9th via an extremely odd face book live video. Harrington is so much more qualified for office it’s a shame she’s going to have to waste calories in a primary.

  4. Paula says:

    Re RD 17 — saw an announcement for Justin King in my FB feed — what jumps out at you in this website address:

    If you’re stymied, so am I — what does j.u. stand for?

  5. heh, Paula, I was playing around with that too.

    ha ha… I kept seeing “just stinking.”

    But it’s just his name. Justin King, in case your comment wasn’t pure snark and you really didn’t see it.

  6. Alby says:

    I’m waiting for the day Pat McGroyan files to run.

  7. jason330 says:

    Justinkingde is an anagram for “Dingiest Junk”

  8. Gigi says:

    Jason, I’m surprised you missed the republican lady running for the 10th who’s slogan is “win with wienner”!